Germantown supports legislation to allow ‘Local Education Agency’

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Germantown announced today that it supports legislation that would codify an opinion by the Tennessee Attorney General clarifying the unresolved question of whether an LEA can and should legally operate within the jurisdictional boundaries of another LEA.

An LEA, or Local Education Agency, is the elected school board and governing body for a public school system.

If passed, HB0917 / SB0898 would require Shelby County Schools to transition away from operating schools in surrounding municipalities including Germantown and Millington.

The bill would also clarify the transitional processes regarding educational operations and public capital assets (buildings, facilities, etc.) from one LEA to another LEA when applicable.

“This legislation creates state law supported by a recent Tennessee Attorney General’s opinion to resolve the uncertainty regarding one LEA’s educational operations within another LEA’s boundaries,” said Germantown Mayor Mike Palazzolo.

“HB0917 / SB0898 creates a clear course of action for all 147 districts and provides a path that ensures every district in the state has approving authority within their own Local Education Agency,” added Vice Mayor Mary Anne Gibson.

About Schools in the City of Germantown

Germantown Municipal School District began operating in 2014, serving the students of the City Germantown with five schools (which grew to six schools in the fall of 2019).

This left Shelby County Schools operating the three legacy Germantown schools (Germantown Elementary, Middle and High) within Germantown’s municipal boundaries.

“The Germantown Municipal School District has always been open to working with Shelby County Schools, the City of Germantown, and our legislators in acquiring the three legacy Germantown schools,” said GMSD Superintendent Jason Manuel.

How is the proposed bill good for Germantown?

  • Transfer of Germantown Elementary and Middle Schools to GMSD could help accommodate additional elementary and middle school growth in the southwest boundary of the City of Germantown.
  • Germantown’s 10-year growth projections show the possibility of approximately 750 additional residential housing units for the City, primarily in the center and eastern portions of the City.
  • With the City of Germantown fully annexed and approaching build-out, land is a valuable commodity for future growth of all educational offerings including secondary curriculum academies and partnerships with higher education providers. These programs would help bolster the City’s commitment to Germantown Forward 2030 strategic goal of life-long learning.

What are the benefits for Shelby County Schools?

  • Transfer of schools currently operated in Germantown and Millington to those municipalities aligns well with the long-term SCS Re-imagine 901 strategic plan to right-size the large district by eliminating underutilized school buildings, creating greater efficiencies, reducing the operational footprint, creating neighborhood schools and re-drawing attendance zones to better serve students and families.
  • Allows for lesser commute time for students, families, faculty and staff as Re-imagine 901 returns to neighborhood schools and more efficient attendance zones.
  • Provides the ability to focus resources, funding, operational needs and programming back into the SCS LEA instead of making fiscal investments outside the current LEA boundaries.
  • Places a pause on consideration of investing $10 million in proposed renovations and additions to Germantown Elementary School.
  • Enables resources to be distributed with more impact to neighborhood and local schools instead of making large investments in areas outside the LEA jurisdiction.

The proposed bill was filed this afternoon by Representative Mark White. The bill will be heard by the House of Representatives K through 12 Subcommittee and the Senate’s Education Committee for discussion and debate within the next few weeks. “The proposed bill enables an agreeable outcome for all parties and creates a path to conclude the previously unresolved questions for public school operations in Germantown,” added Mayor Palazzolo.

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